Molecular machines made out of proteins are involved in virtually all processes of life. Proteins are produced in ribosomes, the protein factories. All proteins, which later get incorporated into membranes, leave the ribosome through the Sec61 channel. With the help of the latest developments in electron microscopy, researchers of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried have succeeded in imaging Sec61 in its natural environment in detail. Their research reveals the exact structure of the Sec61 channel and its mode of operation. An important improvement, because an erroneous transport of proteins has far-reaching effects. The results of the study were published in Nature Communications.